WWII Remains Identified As Those Of Hero Sailor Credited With Saving 15 Lives At Pearl Harbor

Unsung Heroes

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said Navy Chief Warrant Officer John Arnold Austin of Warrior was accounted for in September 2018, 77 years after his death on board the USS Oklahoma.

U.S. Navy photo

DNA testing has identified the remains of an Alabama sailor killed at Pearl Harbor.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said Navy Chief Warrant Officer John Arnold Austin of Warrior was accounted for in September 2018, 77 years after his death on board the USS Oklahoma.


On Dec. 7, 1941, Austin was the Chief Warrant Officer on board the Oklahoma, moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits and quickly capsized. Austin, who had enlisted in the Navy in 1920 at the age of 15, was trapped with others on the ship but found a porthole beneath the water that provided an escape.

He is credited with assisting 15 sailors in escaping the Oklahoma, though he himself failed to get out. Austin died alongside 428 of his fellow crewmen. He was 36-years-old.

Austin was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross in recognition for actions that were in "keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

"He gallantly gave his life for his country," the commendation said.

The USS Austin, an escort destroyer, is named in his honor.

Austin's remains were among those transported to Halawa and Nu'uana cemeteries during the war. In 1947, the American Graves Registration Service disinterred the remains of the U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries in an effort to confirm their identities.

Only 35 of the men who died on board the Oklahoma were able to be identified at the time. The remaining 45 were buried at the National Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Hawaii.

In 1949, Austin and the remaining sailors who could not be identified were listed as non-recoverable.

In 2015, the Pentagon restarted efforts to identify the sailors from the USS Oklahoma and began exhuming their remains. Austin's remains were later identified by scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System using mitochondrial DNA, dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence.

More than 400,000 Americans were killed during World War II; 72,751 remain unaccounted for through 26,000 are considered to be possibly recoverable. Austin's name is listed on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

———

©2019 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: Incredible Photos Show Present-Day Pearl Harbor Compared With The Day Of The Attack

WATCH NEXT: The Navy Divers Of Pearl Harbor

U.S. Army Astronaut Lt. Col. Anne McClain is captured in this photo during a media opportunity while serving as backup crew for NASA Expedition 56 to the International Space Station May, 2018, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. (NASA photo)

NASA is reportedly investigating one of its astronauts in a case that appears to involve the first allegations of criminal activity from space.

Read More Show Less
New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen of the 24th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (CST) and 106th Rescue Wing prepare to identify and classify several hazardous chemical and biological materials during a collective training event at the Plum Island Animal Disease Research Facility, New York, May 2, 2018. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Harley Jelis)

The Department of Homeland Security stored sensitive data from the nation's bioterrorism defense program on an insecure website where it was vulnerable to attacks by hackers for over a decade, according to government documents reviewed by The Los Angeles Times.

The data included the locations of at least some BioWatch air samplers, which are installed at subway stations and other public locations in more than 30 U.S. cities and are designed to detect anthrax or other airborne biological weapons, Homeland Security officials confirmed. It also included the results of tests for possible pathogens, a list of biological agents that could be detected and response plans that would be put in place in the event of an attack.

The information — housed on a dot-org website run by a private contractor — has been moved behind a secure federal government firewall, and the website was shut down in May. But Homeland Security officials acknowledge they do not know whether hackers ever gained access to the data.

Read More Show Less
A U.S. Marine with Task Force Southwest observes Afghan National Army (ANA) 215th Corps soldiers move to the rally point to begin their training during a live-fire range at Camp Shorabak. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Luke Hoogendam)

By law, the United States is required to promote "human rights and fundamental freedoms" when it trains foreign militaries. So it makes sense that if the U.S. government is going to spend billions on foreign security assistance every year, it should probably systematically track whether that human rights training is actually having an impact or not, right?

Apparently not. According to a new audit from the Government Accountability Office, both the Departments of Defense and State "have not assessed the effectiveness of human rights training for foreign security forces" — and while the Pentagon agreed to establish a process to do so, State simply can't be bothered.

Read More Show Less
The Topeka Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Public domain)

The Kansas City VA Medical Center is still dealing with the fallout of a violent confrontation last year between one of its police officers and a patient, with the Kansas City Police Department launching a homicide investigation.

And now Topeka's VA hospital is dealing with an internal dispute between leaders of its Veterans Affairs police force that raises new questions about how the agency nationwide treats patients — and the officers who report misconduct by colleagues.

Read More Show Less
Jeannine Willard (Valencia County Detention Center)

A New Mexico woman was charged Friday in the robbery and homicide of a Marine Corps veteran from Belen late last month after allegedly watching her boyfriend kill the man and torch his car to hide evidence.

Read More Show Less